7 Fun Things to Do during the Harsh Michigan Winters

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Jan 16, 2018 / 0 comments

This month at the Travel Blog Mob, the theme is Stupid Questions (although we all KNOW that there are no stupid questions, right?). It's all a matter of perspective.

So, our Stupid Question to answer this month: What is there to do in Michigan during the long cold winter months?

snowy michigan winter

And, once I stopped laughing (because people MOVE to Michigan for the winter play fun!), I thought that it really wasn't such a stupid question after all. So, let's dig into this snowpile, shall we?

7 Fun Things to Do during the Harsh Michigan Winters

Michigan is an all-seasons wonderland. In the summer, explore the Top 10 Beach Towns on Michigan's Sunset Coast, or search out good food, the arts, theatre, sporting events (Detroit has all the major league teams: Lions, Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons), music, theater, festivals, and more.

In the fall, enjoy the harvest! Michigan is in a fruit belt, and you'll find delicious apples, harvest festivals, and more sports.

In the winter, though, Michigan can hold its own for fun.

It's cold, but not too cold (something about Lake Michigan buffers that frigid air from Minnesota and Canada). There's lots of snow to play in (the lake effect, from Lake Michigan).  And, it's Very Beautiful. So what can you do, in Michigan, in the winter?

snowy Michigan winter. From 7 Fun Things to Do during the Harsh Michigan Winters

Start at the top... 

There are plenty of places to go skiing and snowboarding. Choose a place on the western side of the state (the Sunset coast), because it will get more snow than on the east side (lake effect snow, again). Up north, ski/snowboard at Caberfae, Crystal, Powderhorn, Boyne, or Ski Brule (whose season lasts 6 months, they are so far up north in the UP!). Further down south, head to Cannonsburg or Bittersweet. There are more hills, these are just the ones I am most familiar with. If you prefer to cross-country ski, there are a plethora of groomed trails - check out the state parks and game areas to find one closest to where you are staying. There's also snowshoeing, luging (in Muskegon!), fat tire biking, and more.

Snowy Michigan Winter. From 7 Fun Things to Do during the Harsh Michigan Winters


Not into skiing? There is a great love of skating and hockey in Michigan. Snag some tickets to college games (Michigan, Michigan State, Northern Michigan, Western Michigan, Ferris State, and Lake Superior are all in the CCHA - Central Collegiate Hockey Association) - it's SO MUCH FUN! And, there are three professional teams - the Detroit Red Wings, and the farm team in Grand Rapids, the Griffins, as well as the Kalamazoo Wings.  There are plenty of towns with public rinks (and you'll see even more rinks on lakes and in backyards).

grooming our lake ice rink. From 7 Fun Things to Do during the Harsh Michigan Winters

grooming our lake ice rink

Eat well

When it's cold outside, you want to warm up inside - and there's nothing better than a good, warm meal to do just that. Michigan has Plenty of great restaurants - from organic to ethnic, from hot dogs and hamburgers to gourmet. It's a foodie's best dream, all this food goodness! Don't even get me started on the excellent coffeeshops...

Learn and Listen

Whether it is at Greenfield Village at the holidays (although they are closed from January-April) or the many art museums and libraries you can explore, there's plenty to do. There are children's museums and Science Centers in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Detroit. There are plays and the arts all around - from the many colleges and universities to the Opera, Ballet, and theater companies in Grand Rapids and Detroit. Music abounds, from the Kalamazoo Concert Band to symphonies and orchestras throughout Michigan. You can hardly step foot in Michigan without being surrounded by the arts.

Get outside

See the beauty in nature - talk walks and really notice your surroundings.  Of course, the walk might be short (because it is cold outside). But trust me, it's worth it. If you're lucky, you can explore the coastal areas, and see gorgeous lighthouses - and beaches! Here are photos of Oval Beach in Saugatuck, things to do in South Haven (including hiking the pier to the lighthouse, waves permitting), 

tracks in the snow. From 7 Fun Things to Do during the Harsh Michigan Winters

tracks in the snow

Snowy Michigan winter. From 7 Fun Things to Do during the Harsh Michigan Winters


Whether you're inside at a waterpark resort (we love Great Wolf Lodge - click for best rates and availability), or outside throwing snowballs and building forts, Michigan is full of fun activities. The sun is shining, it's usually above zero, and you can play to your heart's content.

great wolf lodge traverse city. From 7 Fun Things to Do during the Harsh Michigan Winters

Great Wolf Lodge, Traverse City

Michigan makes winter fun. Plan a trip - and enjoy!


7 Fun Things to do in the Harsh Michigan Winters



Want more Michigan winter goodness? Read on: 

Visiting Lake Michigan lighthouses in the winter

How to Survive a Winter Beach

Along the Frozen Shores of Lake Michigan: Photo Friday




Every month a group of expert, independent travel bloggers converge on a single topic in a Travel Blog Mob. Our topic for this month? Stupid Questions!

* Camping? In New York City? from Spot Cool Stuff

* BootsnAll Writers Answer Some of Our Strangest Reader Questions from BootsnAll


Note: This article was originally written in 2016 and updated in 2018